3 picked to replace retiring Allen Co. judge

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Three Allen County magistrates have been nominated to fill a vacancy on the Allen Superior Court bench.

The Allen Superior Court Judicial Nominating Commission has selected current magistrates Michael Douglass, Daniel Pappas and Andrea Trevino as finalists to replace Judge Daniel Heath, who will retire from the bench effective Feb. 28 after a 21-year career.

Douglass has served as magistrate in the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division since February 2016. Douglass serves at the Allen County Juvenile Center, ruling on juvenile delinquency cases, child support enforcement, contested visitation and custody disputes in paternity cases. He was appointed by Heath.

Pappas has served as magistrate of the Allen Superior Court since November 2013. He was previously the both the Chief Public Defender and Chief Deputy Prosecutor of DeKalb County and worked as a Deputy Prosecutor for Allen County, as well. Pappas has practiced in child rights law and juvenile delinquency law.

Trevino was appointed magistrate in the Allen Circuit Court in August 2013. She presides over the Allen Circuit Court Child Support Enforcement division and handles the court’s criminal, civil, and family relations dockets, as well. Trevino launched a joint program between the Allen Circuit Court and WorkOne of Northeast Indiana to provide employment, education, and vocational rehabilitation services to child support obligors.

The three finalists will be submitted to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, who will decide one to become to county’s next Superior Court judge. Holcomb has 60 days to make the appointment.

Heath announced in October his intentions to retire. The administrator of the Allen County Juvenile Center and a leader in juvenile delinquency solutions, Heath served as a civil court judge for more than 16 years. He took over administrative authority of the Allen County Juvenile Center in 2013, when Judge Steve Sims retired.

Heath spearheaded numerous programs within the Allen County Court system. His Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a prevention strategy designed to lower the number of juveniles incarcerated in Allen County, lowered the average number of jailed juveniles from upward of 100 a day to 40. The Check and Connect truancy mentoring program aimed to keep students in Allen County schools. BrightSteps was introduced in Heath’s paternity court to enhance early childhood development, while the volunteer-based Read and Lead program worked to enhance reading levels and moral asset development within young people caught up in the juvenile court system.